Local News

Questions linger after deputy-involved shooting

Posted November 24, 2008 4:22 p.m. EST
Updated November 25, 2008 9:59 a.m. EST

— The Johnston County Sheriff's Office declined to comment Monday on the weekend shooting of a Kenly man killed by a sheriff's deputy, leaving more questions than answers for those who knew him.

Two deputies went to 2349 Glendale Road shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday in response to a request by local paramedics for backup.

When they arrived, according to a sheriff's spokeswoman, Reginald Lee Witcher, 54, shot at the officers from his front door. A deputy returned fire, hitting and killing Witcher.

But those who knew Witcher said Monday there has to be a different explanation about what happened, because he was not a violent man and would never point a gun at someone.

"It just shocked me and my wife," said Garland Stancil who lives across the street from Witcher. "It just tore us up."

Stancil said Witcher and his wife, Belinda, had guests at their home Saturday night and that a female guest told him they called 911 when she fell.

"Then, when 911 got there, then I understand, they said something to Belinda that Belinda didn't like," he said.

Johnston County sheriff spokeswoman Tammy Amaon said an EMS call was received at 8:23 p.m. and that paramedics arrived to the residence at 8:40 p.m.

EMS requested assistance from the sheriff's office at 8:41 p.m., she said but could not say why. The deputies arrived at 8:56 p.m., and a shot was fired at 9:05 p.m., Amaon said.

Scott Blecke, EMS division chief in Johnston County, said paramedics reported several people at the residence who were uncooperative and interfering with their ability to treat the female guest.

Both deputies, Deputy Sgt. J.K. Garner and Deputy A.J. Case, are on administrative leave with pay, which is standard procedure for all officer-involved shootings.

Although authorities won't comment, Stancil suggested, based on a conversation with another neighbor, the shooting might have been a misunderstanding.

"Reg saw them and maybe got up and was going to put his gun up, and the guy thought he was going to shoot him. So, he shot Reg," Stancil said. "That's my view of it."